Isn’t She Beautiful?

I’m finding one predominant trend in just about every college age Christian in America over the past few years. It is that the Church isn’t what she should be, and then an explanation of how she should be different. Actually, this sounds a lot like the verbiage espoused by David Skidmore over the past few years. Now, let me also say that I understand that in the Bible, there are prophets who God uses to call His people back to Himself. But I don’t think that most people I know come off as prophetic. Only a few that I know. So let’s consider some things. This isn’t directed at the entire Church. Just my generation.

I find that we find it easier to complain about what isn’t than to proclaim the good that is.

I find that we have become church connoisseurs comparing her different tribes as if she were a steakhouse vs McDonalds.

I find that our joy has been swallowed up in an intellectual debate.

I find that my generation seems to think Church is more “me centered” than “we centered” even though we speak about what it should be and hop from place to place trying to find the perfect place that will fit us and what we want just fine. Often we call our wants our needs.

I find that we have an incredible easy time using our words as a baseball bat, and beating the Church to pieces.

I find that we are educated well beyond our level of obedience. Often we search for the “deep truth” when the deep truth is often: be obedient.

I find that we pick apart the Church like the photo editors of Cosmo and Vogue do, discovering every flaw we behold, and proclaiming it as if we are a perfect people.

I find that we love speakers, authors, and musicians more than we love the brother and sister sitting next to us. It is often because someone has a famous name, a publishing company, or a label, that person has just transcended the common humanity of church.

I find that we would rather tear ourselves down, grumble and complain, than build one another up and the church.

I find that we rate our places based on whether they do a good job of taking care of the poor and forsaken, instead of leading people with food for the homeless and love for our widows.

I find that we often say that “the Church doesn’t have enough for me to do” or “a place for me to plug in” when in reality it is our commitment to Christ that may need to be called into question, because Jesus didn’t tell us to make excuses because they don’t have a “specific ministry” for you, but Jesus has called us His disciples and that we will be blessed if we do the things He tells us to do.

I find that we often talk about loving the Lord, but we speak so violently against His bride while forgetting that the only reason we are found in relationship with Him is because we are a part of His bride.

So once upon a time, St. Paul was writing a letter to some people in a city called Ephesus, and this is what He said.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27

Christ gave himself up for her to make her holy.

Christ cleansed and even cleanses her by the washing with water through the word.

Christ presents her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

If Jesus loves the Church through her flaws, her shortcomings, her hypocrisy, her stupidity, her arrogance, her lust, her anger, her rage, her sexual addictions, and her often altogether unfaithfulness, then we might want to learn from Him.

Because Jesus has made His choice, and it cost Him the blood that flowed through His body to be spilled out on a tree. And now, Jesus presents to Himself the church. He says she is radiant. She is lovely. She is pure. She is holy. She is different. She is full of promise. She is full of hope. Her potential exceeds imagination. She is His.

Isn’t she beautiful?

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4 comments

  1. Holly · January 18, 2011

    Great post! One I definitely need to hear.

  2. Michael Hanegan · January 18, 2011

    I like what Augustine says here,

    “The Church is a whore. And she is my mother.”

  3. Matt · January 19, 2011

    Great post Dave! Great message, clearly stated. This is one of the main problems I have with the “Emergent Church” movement. It seems like they are all about criticizing other churches instead of accepting and loving people who may (or may not) be doing it wrong. Regardless, I love this post.

  4. ennie · February 3, 2011

    Thank you for sharing. Always appreciate the logic behind your demonstration, very vivid and very true. Have been working in a church for over 2 years. I cannot agree with enough. She is broken but she is still beautiful, not because what we do in the church but who He is.

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